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  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Opening Day Issue

A team to remember

101 wins was great - just not great enough in 1961

Photo: Photo courtesy the Detroit Tigers, License: N/A

Photo courtesy the Detroit Tigers

By early May, the team was in first place.

2011 Opening Day Issue

Fifty years later, the Detroit Tigers of 1961 — men now in their 70s and 80s — have not forgotten the season that slipped away.

It might have been an immortal year. After all, the team won as many regular-season games — 101 — as any Detroit team to that point. But, instead, it has been relegated to the footnotes of history, overshadowed by pinstriped legends.

The Yankees dominated sports headlines that summer. Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle captivated the nation while pursuing Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. New York won 109 games, a figure topped only once in the previous three decades, and captured a tenth pennant in 12 years.

"I always hated them," said Dick McAuliffe, who was then a 21-year-old backup shortstop. "I always thought they had a lot of luck and got a lot of great calls from the umpires."

Based on opening day, it was difficult to imagine the Tigers were in for a special season. They lost 9-5 to the Cleveland Indians, and pitching ace Jim Bunning, who would win 17 games, lasted less than two innings and gave up six runs.

But the pieces were in place. Al Kaline, a star at 26, anchored the lineup, along with Rocky Colavito, who had come over from Cleveland the previous spring. Norm Cash, the hard-drinking Texan, had been with the club only one year and given no indication of the kind of career performance he would deliver.

The starting lineup also included four players (catcher Dick Brown, rookie Jake Wood, Steve Boros and veteran Bill Bruton) who hadn't been with the team in 1960, when the Tigers finished sixth out of eight teams, and one additional player, shortstop Chico Fernandez, who had.

The manager, Bob Scheffing, was new as well, and John Fetzer had just become majority owner. Even the ballpark, a fixture at Michigan and Trumbull since 1912, could not escape change. Fetzer had dropped the Briggs Stadium name in favor of Tiger Stadium.

Whatever the name, the old place remained popular with players.

"It was one of the best ballparks in baseball," said pitcher Don Mossi, who would win 15 games. "In most ballparks, (fans) sit way back from the field, but in Detroit (fans) were right by the field."

Although a number of players donned the Old English D for the first time that season, they weren't unfamiliar to one another.

Several, including Tigers second baseman Wood, spent time together in the minor leagues, forming bonds that would be strengthened in the majors.

In 1960, the Tigers Triple-A affiliate, the Denver Bears, had finished first in the American Association. Wood said it helped that Bears teammate Steve Boros, the Tigers' starting third baseman, was on the field with him for his major league debut.

"There was a core of familiarity that I had, so it wasn't like I was going into a situation where I totally didn't know anyone," he said. "I had a comfort zone, so it wasn't bad."

Still, Wood said his passions were high. "You appreciate veterans on the team who can calm you down because your emotions run the gamut," he said. "They're up one day and down the next."

The mix of youth and experience helped the Tigers shake off their opening day loss and win eight straight games. They found themselves in first place at 17-5 in early May and would remain there for most of June and into July.

"The personalities on the team are what brought us together," Mossi said. "We had some real clowns. We gelled together because we were good friends and had good players."

For Wood, an African-American on a team that had integrated only three years earlier, the friendships meant a lot.

"We had a bunch of guys that came from Southern states, so I don't know what type of contact they had with African-Americans, but they were all right with me," he said. "They helped create a type of environment that was more sociable than aggressive. Those guys treated me like a person."

That didn't stop them from hazing the rookie, though. His first time in spring training, Wood noticed a small box inside a cage next to his locker. Norm Cash told him a mongoose was inside. Curious, Wood approached the box.

"He said to knock on the cage and it would come out," Wood said. "But when I knocked on the cage a big ol' piece of fur jumped out and hit me on the side of the head! You should have seen me running."

It was a year in which rubber snakes in equipment bags and hot-foot pranks in the dugout were common. The jokes "kept things lively," Wood said.

McAuliffe, who was called up from Denver in June 1961, remembers the humor of Paul Foytack, a veteran pitcher. Foytack loved playing gin rummy so much on plane rides that'd he'd refuse to stop even after the plane landed, McAuliffe said. "He'd have one of our teammates hold the cards as they were all still walking and playing," he said.

McAuliffe said the team was always upbeat. "I think the guys were good for one another," he said. "One guy never downgraded anyone on the team. They always rooted for you and they always cheered."

For Wood, the Tigers' quick start had much to do with chemistry. "Any team that's successful has to create the right type of environment and atmosphere to make people feel comfortable," he said. "That's how you succeed."

As the season matured, it became clear the Tigers were superb.

Cash was on pace to win the American League batting title with a .361 average, Colavito was on his way to driving in 140 runs, one short of the league title, and pitcher Frank Lary was having the best year of his career en route to 23 wins.

But it was Kaline, already in the eighth year of a Hall of Fame career, who provided the foundation. He would lead the league in doubles and finish second in the league in batting.

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